I stood staring at the wide expanse of Omaha Beach squinting my eyes, trying to imagine what that historic day was like. D Day seems so far away now – ancient. My mind was swimming in thoughts amplified by the fact that I was here visiting this WWII Normandy invasion sight with my European friends – Germans, Brits, and Dutch. It hit me then – how amazing this beach was. I looked at the blue water lap onto the beach calmly with people who I never would have met if June 6, 1944 wouldn’t have had the outcome it did. Here – a place where Germans, Brits, and Americans fought a fierce battle and marked the end of so many young lives. It was because of that battle and loss of life that the 7 of us all were together – we came in peace from various countries as friends. It felt strange. But it felt good.
I had never really been interested in World War II before. Sure, I vaguely remember my history teacher, Mr. Durham, reading about it from our text book in High School – snore. I memorized what I needed to and then promptly forgot about it. As I grew older I had seen a few movies about it – but I never found it as fascinating as the more modern conflicts in Vietnam, the cold war, or modern history of Cambodia (probably because I had spent some time in those countries during my travels). But as I stand looking at the vastness of Omaha Beach in Normandy with my European friends I realize that what it takes for me to be interested in history is simply a closer connection.
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